Col. Benjamin Hawkins

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Col Benjamin Hawkins

Also Known As: "Sen Benjamin Hawkins", "Benjamin Hawkins"
Birthplace: Bute, NC, United States
Death: June 06, 1816 (61)
Hawkinsville, Pulaski, Ga., United States
Place of Burial: Hawkins Plantation Cemetery, Roberta, Crawford County, Georgia, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Colonel Philemon Hawkins, II and Delia Warren Hawkins
Husband of Lavenia Ora Hawkins and NN Hawkins, Creek woman
Father of Georgia A. Hawkins; Muscogee E. L. Kiser; Cherokee Lawshe (Hawkins); Mary Caroline Hawkins; James Madison Hawkins and 4 others
Brother of Colonel John Hawkins; Frances Duke (Hawkins); Col. Philemon Hawkins; Col. Joseph Hawkins; Delia Fanniel Bullock and 2 others

Occupation: Indian agent/senator
Managed by: John Ware Lawshe
Last Updated:

About Col. Benjamin Hawkins

Aide-de-camp to Gen. Geo. Washington DAR A053400, Patriotic service. NC

There is no record of him as Aide de Camp to General George Washington

In 1796 he was appointed by George Washington as an Indian agent for all tribes south of the Ohio River and served until his death in 1818. WGA 6th cousin 7x removed

Benjamin Hawkins (1754–1818) was an American farmer, statesman, and Indian agent from North Carolina. He was born 15 Aug 1754 in Bute County North Carolina and died 6 Jun 1816 Creek Agency, near Roberta, Crawford Co., Georgia and was buried there. The modern Ocmulgee National Monument includes the site of the original Fort Hawkins. Hawkins County in Tennessee is named in his honor.

He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and a United States Senator, as well as a long-term diplomat and agent to the Creek Indians.

Parents: Philemon Hawkins (1717-1801) and Delia Martin (1721-1794)


  1. 09 Jan 1812 in Ft. Hawkins, Jones, Georgia to Lavina Downs, daughter of Isaac Downs and <Unknown>. She was born 10 May 1781 in MD, and died 22 Mar 1828 in Crawford Co., GA. [1][2]

Children of Benjamin Hawkins and Lavinia Downs are:

  1. Georgiana Hawkins, born 04 May 1799 in GA; died 12 Feb 1818 in Jones Co., GA.
  2. Muscogee Hawkins, born 30 Jan 1802 in GA.
  3. Cherokee Hawkins, born 16 Mar 1805 in GA; died 26 Feb 1849 in Water Valley, Yalobusha, MS.
  4. Mary Caroline Hawkins, born 10 Jun 1807 in GA; died 12 Apr 1817.
  5. James Madison Hawkins, born 1809 in GA; died Aft. 18 Mar 1850 in Yalobusha Co., MS.
  6. Virginia Hawkins, born 06 Mar 1811 in GA; died 03 Oct 1851 in Water Valley, Yalobusha, MS.
  7. Jeffersonia E. Hawkins, born 12 Jul 1813 in GA; died 15 Nov 1861

Indian Agent


Benjamin Hawkins, portrayed on his plantation, teaches Creek people to use European technology. Painted in 1805.

In 1785, Hawkins had served as a representative for the Congress in negotiations with the Creek Indians. He was generally successful, and convinced the tribe to lessen their raids for several years, although he could not conclude a formal treaty. The Creek wanted to deal with the 'head man'. They finally signed the Treaty of New York after Hawkins convinced George Washington to become involved.

In 1786, Hawkins and fellow Indian agents Andrew Pickens and Joseph Martin concluded a treaty with the Choctaw nation at Seneca Old Town, today's Hopewell, South Carolina, setting out the boundaries for the Choctaw lands as well as the provisions for relations between the tire and the U.S. government.

In 1796, Washington appointed Benjamin Hawkins as General Superintendent of Indian Affairs, dealing with all tribes south of the Ohio River. As principal agent to the Creek tribe, Hawkins moved to present-day Crawford County in Georgia. After he was adopted by the Creeks, he took a common-law wife from among the women.

He began to teach agricultural practices to the tribe, and started a farm at his home on the Flint River. In time, he brought in slaves and workers, cleared several hundred acres, and established mills and a trading post, as well as his farm. Hawkins expanded his operation to include more than 1,000 head of cattle and a large number of hogs. For years, he would meet with chiefs on his porch and discuss matters while churning butter. His personal hard work and open-handed generosity won him such respect that reports say that he never lost an animal to Indian raiders.

He was responsible for 19 years of peace, the longest such period between the settlers and the tribe. When in 1806 a fort was built to protect expanding settlements, just east of modern Macon, Georgia, the government named it Fort Benjamin Hawkins in his honor.

Hawkins saw much of his work to preserve peace destroyed in 1812. A group of Creeks led by Tecumseh were encouraged by British agents to resist increasing settlement by European Americans. Although Hawkins was never attacked, he had to witness a civil war among the Creeks, with the White Sticks and Red Sticks at odds. In the end, the Creeks who were warring with the US were defeated by Andrew Jackson.

During the Creek War of 1813-1814, Hawkins organized the friendly Creeks under Major William McIntosh to aid Georgia and Tennessee militias in their forays against the Red Sticks. After the Red Stick defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, activities in Georgia and Tennessee prevented Hawkins from moderating the Treaty of Fort Jackson in August 1814. Hawkins later organized friendly Creeks against a British force on the Apalachicola River that threatened to rally the scattered Red Sticks and reignite the war on the Georgia frontier. After the British withdrew in 1815, Hawkins was organizing a force to secure the area when he died from a sudden illness in June 1816.

Benjamin never recovered from the shock of the Creek civil war. He had tried to resign his post and return from the Georgia wilderness, but his resignation was refused by every president after Washington. He remained Superintendent until his death on June 6, 1818. When he believed himself to be on his death bed he formally married his Creek wife.


  1. said by some to be of Ocmulgee Creek descent (though there is evidence she claimed she was white)
  2. There is evidence in the Moravian Diaries that Lavinia indicated she was white (See her father's record). Suspicion that she was Creek has been voiced since shortly after her death, including comments such as "there is no truth to the rumor that she was an Indian." However: " ... confirmation that Lavina Downs was Creek came from the Chehaws who showed Janice [Woods Windle] that the marriage of Hawkins and Downs is recorded in the official Marriages of the Muskogee." Lavinia Downs is thought by many family members to be of the Ocmulgee Creek Nation, and they insist she was first the wife of Chief Long Side of Tuckabatchie (Tookautchee). He was killed in a raid, and she was widowed with a young son, Silas. Her son Silas is said to have been born in 1792 which conflicts with Lavinia's reported birthdate of 10 May 1781. The birthdate of her presumed son Silas Downs, however, would have come at age 10 or 11, if both birthdates are reported correctly. If Lavinia was Creek, that fact was kept secret throughout the part of the family that remained in Water Valley, Mississippi after 1850. The part of the family that moved to San Marcos kept alive this secret. Her suspected Creek heritage is commemorated by the book "True Women" by Janice Woods Windle, which has been made into a mini-series (and slightly fictionalized by screen-writers). (Freeman)

U.S. Continental Congressman, U.S. Senator. He attended the College of New Jersey and during the Revolutionary War, he served as a Colonel on the staff of General George Washington, as his interpreter. After the war, he was a member of the North Carolina State House of Commons, (1778-79, 84) and a member of Continental Congress, (1781-83, 87). He also was appointed by Congress to negotiate treaties with the Creek and Cherokee Indians in 1785. In 1889, he was elected to the United States Senate, serving until 1895. After leaving the Senate, he was appointed Indian agent for all the tribes south of the Ohio River by President Washington in 1796 and held the office until his death.

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Col. Benjamin Hawkins's Timeline

August 15, 1754
Bute, NC, United States
South Carolina, United States
May 4, 1799
Jones County, Georgia, United States
January 30, 1802
Hawkinsville, Creek Nation, Georgia, United States
March 16, 1805
Hawkinsville, Georgia, United States
June 10, 1807
Georgia, United States
June 1809
Jones County, Georgia, United States
Georgia, United States
March 6, 1811